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Australian High Comissioner- "There are many clever people in Tonga with ideas and creativity"

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6  August, 2011 The Tonga Australia Alumni Association (TAAA)  in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Employment, Youth and Sports completed the launch of its second project on Youth invention, innovation and entrepreneurship last Friday by awarding prizes to winners of MOTEYS inventions competitions.

The Australian High Commissioner, HE Mr. Thomas Roth inspected the displays and products inventions before awarding prizes to winners from three categories of the competitions.

In his keynote address, His Excellency Mr. Thomas Roth said that the awards presented this morning means a lot of people in Tonga are thinking a lot of issues.

"It's very good to see re-cycled product. Things being re-used for so much creativity and creations by people in school aged and old. This presentation, I believe is a useful platform, I believe for people in Tonga to show and demonstrate the creativity and innovations they have.

Ideas belong to everybody whether you're at school or Tertiary Institutions or working or retired. In this sort of competitions, allow people to think creatively on how they can use different products, how they can use their skills and make contributions in terms of recycling for developing opportunities for communities in Tonga.

This is my second visit to a Tongan-Australian Alumni Association event. Last month, I had the honour to present some of prizes for film-making competition. And at that event I can see clearly the creativity of a lot of young people in schools in Tonga and in the way they develop their films in different plots and the way they put that together. And today, we are seeing that at a different level in terms of artistic creativity with innovations of developing new machinery, practical creativity with equipment for the household but also artistic-creativity in terms of the pictures we have around us today. And I would like to compliment everyone for their work and efforts put into that.

Australian Government is proud to sponsor the Tonga Australia Alumni Association (TAAA) and through the government, AustAID has contributed Aust$30,000 this year to make this event possible. We also like to acknowledge the Lord Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano for doing us a great honour for opening the Annual Conference of the TAAA yesterday evening.

I think the presence and participation of the Lord Prime Minister demonstrates the level of commitment, friendship and respect between our two countries and between our two peoples and this sort of activity and competition we have today is concrete demonstration of that.

Clearly as we see it, when we look around there are many clever people in Tonga who thought very hard about the paintings and drawings, implements and machineries that they have developed. I congratulate everyone who has competed in this competition and in particular to the winners and runners-up in this competitions who have done a fantastic job and I wish them all success in the future terms of their products.

Without ideas and creativity , of course, there is no innovations and I hope that this competition will encourage many more people, many more schools and many more community and in the outer-islands as well, to think actively about how they could use the resources they have, whether recycling or natural to make new innovations, new ideas and new technologies, which hopefully one day they help to contribute to commercialization and the further development of those communities.

So, in conclusion, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today, it's my great honour and pleasure to present the prizes. I congratulate all the winners and everyone who competed in it today, Malo ‘aupito. "


The programme was a huge success! This is the second project initiated and funded by the Tonga Austalia Alumni Association (TAAA) in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Employment, Youth and Sports.

This project has encouraged the transformation of knowledge into useful products and services, and capturing the innovativeness of youth in Tonga. It has supported the deveolpment of new ideas and applicaiton of knowledge into practice by encouraging youth invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The competition had 3 main categories. Amongst the winners from the:

1st category (forms 4-7 high school students) included:
• 1st prize was a tie between 'Elenoa Moala from Kolomotu'a (fau basket) and Ruby Edwards (used clothing bags and hats). Both are Tonga High School students

2nd category (students at the vocational institutions and tertiary level):
• 1st prize was a tie between Ma'ata Uhi (from 'Ahopanilolo with her ngatu outfit) and 'Alanati Loketi ffrom Vava'u with her table mat

3rd category (open category - anyone who is not under the above 2 categories)
3A (those under 15 years old) - 1st prize went to Moala 'Elone from St. Andrew High School for his misini fo

3B (adults);

1. Art
• Tevita Latu (1st prize)
• Taniela Petelo (2nd prize)
2. Machines
• Simione Vea (1st prize - misini kini kava Tonga)
• Vaka Pole'o (coconut squeezer)
3. Handicraft
• Mele Lavaka of Vava'u

The MoTEYS is hoping this project will take again next year so more talented and innovative people across Tonga can take part.


Issued by the: Mnistry of Information & Communications, Nuku'alofa 2011.


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